Archive for May, 2010

Sea Warriors win it all

May 31st, 2010
By dreardon



Wow … in its own way, today’s thriller was as dramatic as yesterday’s.

This time it’s Hawaii Pacific, hanging on for a 4-3 victory over Valdosta State for the first NCAA softball national championship in the history of the state. Hawaii Loa won a national title as an NAIA member.

Valdosta State loaded the bases with one out in the seventh inning, but Sherise Musquiz got out of the jam.

HPU had to come back from a 2-0 deficit with a four-run fifth inning and barely held on.

“Everything was for the four seniors,” coach Bryan Nakasone said.

Musquiz, Ciera Senas, Ashley Fernandez and Casey Sugihara were a part of four PacWest championship teams, including the 2008 squad that was denied a regional berth  despite 43 wins, and the team that had to travel to a regional last year with a 40-10 record.

–By Dave Reardon

AMAZING DAY

May 30th, 2010
By dreardon



Jenna Rodriguez’s walk-off homer to beat Alabama and propel Hawaii to its first Women’s College World Series is one of the most clutch performances in the history of local sports.

On the road, against a dominant pitcher, so much on the line. All the momentum having swung back to the top-seeded Tide.

Where does you think it ranks all-time folks? … and I’m not talking just UH sports, state of Hawaii sports.

***

And now the news that the UH baseball team wins the WAC and advances to the NCAA tournament, and HPU wins to advance to the NCAA Division II national championship game.

So let’s ask another question: When is the last time so many good things happened in one day of Hawaii college sports? I’ll take a semi-educated guess and say “Never.”

–By Dave Reardon

Don’t forget the Sea Warriors

May 28th, 2010
By dreardon



What’s more likely … Hawaii baseball team wins WAC Tournament or Hawaii softball team wins NCAA super regional at Alabama?

I should’ve added HPU winning the Division II softball world series. Here’s a report from John Barry, HPU’s SID, as the Sea Warriors rest up for tomorrow’s semifinal:

St. Joseph, MO  – After a 27-hour trip from Honolulu and two days of competition, the HPU softball team is enjoying a well-deserved day off from World Series play. The reward came after HPU won its first two games, and now sits in the driver’s seat to advance to the National Title game. HPU plays tomorrow, Sunday, at 2:30 p.m. against an opponent to be determined.

While HPU takes part in a light practice and a handful of players receive some much needed rest, a quartet of elimination games will take place at Heritage Park for the right to play the undefeated Sea Warriors.

Timely base running, solid defensive efforts, and the right arm of pitcher Sherise Musquiz have made HPU one of two undefeated teams in the tournament. In 17 innings on the mound – 10 innings in yesterday’s thrilling win over Angelo State – Musquiz has not surrendered a single earned run. “It was nice to be in the winning end of one of those,” said Musquiz, speaking of her two 14-inning marathon loses her freshman season. “The defense has played well behind me which has made my job a lot easier.” Musquiz was a big part of the defense she speaks of, posting six assists including the final out of the game.

In addition to Musquiz’s heroic effort yesterday, centerfielder Kozy Toriano was an equal thorn in the Rambelle’s side. Her diving grab in the seventh inning prevented a gamewinning score, and three innings later she plating the game’s only run to give HPU the win.

After today’s games only four teams will be remaining in the tournament, one of which will play the Sea Warriors on Sunday. HPU will have two chances to grab the win that will send them into Monday’s National Title game.

Two weeks ago HPU embarked on a monumental journey that could end with a National Championship, its first in program history. Today, it would seem, the journey is nearly complete.


Coolen keeping cool, other Wahine notes … Ching out

May 26th, 2010
By dreardon



Hawaii softball coach Bob Coolen got “a call out of nowhere” from Cory Myers, the son of Arizona State coach Clint Myers and a friend of Coolen’s. Cory lives near Tuscaloosa and knew of a practice facility the Rainbow Wahine could use. But Alabama coach Patrick Murphy said never mind that, go ahead and use the Alabama facility the teams will play at Friday and Saturday in an NCAA super regional.

Are we surprised by such a gesture? Of course not, not anyone who’s been to Tuscaloosa. In 2006 those of us from Hawaii there for the UH football game against the Tide learned all about Southern Hospitality … which is quite similar to the Aloha Spirit.

Of course that ends Friday on the field when the Wahine and Tide meet up for the right to advance to the Women’s College World Series next week.

Coolen and Murphy are friends from a few years back. Still, there’s nothing that says Murphy had to let UH practice two days on the field the teams will compete on.

“That’s real good, we’re very fortunate,” Coolen said by phone today. “Patrick opened up everything for us, and we’re very grateful.”

***

Coolen threw his usual 400 pitches of batting practice today.

“I couldn’t wait to get some cold liquids in me after,” said Coolen, who  added that practice was between noon and 2 p.m. He said the temperature was in the 70s, but humidity off the charts.

He said the team was still shaking off jet lag today after yesterday’s long travel from the California Bay Area, where the Wahine won the Stanford Regional.

“We were a little sluggish today, struggled a little at the plate,” Coolen said. “We lifted Monday and traveled yesterday, so that’s normal. It’s good we’re getting two days of practice and we’ll literally be back in the swing of things tomorrow.”

***

Shannon Antonio, former UH team manager and sister of former players Rose and Joyce Antonio, lives near Tuscaloosa, Coolen said. So Rose and Joyce and their parents and other members of their family are headed there.

Catcher Katie Grimes, who is from Tampa, Fla., also expects plenty of family and friends.

“Katie’s very excited,” Coolen said. “This is the closest to home we’ve gotten her.”

***

Some folks are surprised Brian Ching, the Kamehameha graduate from Haleiwa, didn’t make the final cut for the US World Cup team.

The  MLS all-star striker was on the last World Cup team, but did not play. He is coming off a hamstring injury he suffered as a member of the Houston Dynamo.

Coach Bob Bradley announced the final team today after cutting it from 30 to 23 players.

–By Dave Reardon

Mouse in the house? Bet on it

May 24th, 2010
By dreardon



Spoke with Mouse Davis today, and I’d say he’s the odds-on favorite for the UH receivers job, replacing the retiring Ron Lee.

Actually, I’d say better than odds-on.

“I would say that is a very strong possibility,” he answered when I asked if he will be the new assistant.

Mouse is 77, but he’s the father of the run-and-shoot, and he’s got plenty of energy. He coached UH running backs, linemen and kickers a few years ago under June Jones — whom he coached at Portland State.

He got married a couple of years ago; no problem, he said his wife loves Hawaii.

Although there have been rumors about the return of Mouse, who spoke at the UH coaches’ clinic last month, I didn’t think he was interested until talking with him today.

I have to believe the position is his for the taking, especially since it would be difficult to find other good candidates this close to the start of the season.

–By Dave Reardon